Lewis Hamilton fastest before emotional farewell

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton prepared for an emotional farewell to McLaren with the fastest time in practice for the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday.

The Briton, who took his 2008 Formula One title at Interlagos and arrived in Brazil after winning the U.S. Grand Prix in Texas last Sunday, lapped the anti-clockwise layout with a best time of one minute 14.131 seconds in sunny but hazy morning conditions.

The 27-year-old, who joins Mercedes next season, then lapped in 1:14.026 in the heat of the afternoon.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, the championship leader who is favourite to clinch his third successive title on Sunday, was second fastest in both sessions.

He was just 0.009 off Hamilton's pace before lunch and 0.274 slower after the break.

However, the 25-year-old German set his morning time on this year's Pirelli tyres while Hamilton's came in a test of next year's prototype rubber.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Vettel's only title rival but 13 points off the lead, was fifth on both timesheets - 0.261 and 0.566 slower respectively than the quickest McLaren.

Hamilton, who welled up with emotion in a BBC interview earlier in the week, said he was savouring every moment of the weekend.

I just took some pictures of my engineers. I'll take some pictures of my mechanics later on today and I said we have to take a picture every day, he told reporters after practice. This is one of the best Fridays we've had for a long, long time. It's a perfect last Friday to have.

I feel very good at the moment. we're definitely strong, just as we were in the last three or four races, said the Briton.

But here is so tough on the tyres. I hope that we can continue to compete with them (Red Bull) tomorrow. That would be the best Saturday to have a pole, for sure.

... contd.

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